Monday, July 7, 2014

Quick Take: Titans' AJ Bell experiment provided the blueprint for success, are BAFA listening?




Anyone who is familiar with the way that BAFA operates will not be surprised that the location and date of Brit Bowl XXVIII has still not been officially revealed. There is a Facebook event here but nothing else.

Last year's event was held at John Charles Stadium in Leeds. I know that because I went to the BAFA website just before publishing this and it's still the latest news on the Brit Bowl section.

We are all used to this by now but 2014 has been different. The Manchester Titans hosted a game last month inside AJ Bell Stadium and managed to draw a bigger crowd than any Brit Bowl in recent years. It's not rocket science how they did this. They gave everyone time to buy tickets and did a fantastic social media campaign to market it and make it feel like a big deal. It's something the Brit Bowl organisers should take notice of.

In fact, just steal the whole idea. AJ Bell Stadium should've been the location for this year's event. For starters it is a fantastic facility with community pitches for the juniors and a massive stadium for the main games. It's in a central location, has great road links, and fantastic facilities. There is no running track, which gives a great atmosphere, and best of all there has already been a trial run and it was a great success, and unlike Leeds they actually turned up.

The Titans got over 1400 people to a league game. With the correct marketing and planning a Brit Bowl in Salford could be fantastic but it might be too late. Events like this need to be booked months in advance and to get your money back you need people in the stadium, and that requires buzz and marketing, which at the moment is non-existent.

No matter where they hold it, it should be decided before the season begins. No other sport I know starts a season with no idea where the final will be held.

I love American Football and want it to succeed in the UK. I'd be banging the drum and do the commentating, but I have no idea whether I'll be free that weekend because I don't know when it will be.

Just to clarify I have absolutely no affiliation with the Titans except for the fact that because I live in the same city I can attend the odd game (about twice a season.)

There has been no marketing towards people like me, who have no real link to the club, and by that I mean I don't have a family member who is playing in the Brit Bowl on the day. 

The issue that I try to put across is that because there is no marketing there are few fans, just family members and players. 

Finally, I am not dissing BAFA I just want them to listen. I do marketing for a living and understand it's importance in making money (a huge issue for everyone in the sport) Plenty of teams have folded recently. A marque game that the average person knows about and would spend money on would do that. 


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Lewis English is the Editor of Until Kickoff and a radio presenter and commentator. You can follow him on Twitter here.

5 comments:

  1. The one thing you don't account for is that the Titans were marketing a game in their own back yard where as doing the same thing for a final is a different proposition. Would a Britbowl in Salford featuring a team from London and a team from Scotland be as easy to sell? Could not disagree with most of the points though and when you talk about "correct" marketing, a better starting point might be "some marketing". Maybe one way would be for the league to step out of the organisation completely and leave one of the teams to manage and market it locally along the lines of a Bowl game.

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  2. I think the team marketing idea is brilliant but then, as you say, any marketing is a start

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  3. You also haven't taken into account the fact that the teams competing in BB will only be decided two weeks before the game. The Titans had months to sell tickets for their event.

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  4. The teams for Premiership & Super League Rugby finals aren't known until just before the match, same for cup finals in football, but there are still people who buy tickets well in advance just so they can be there regardless of who is playing. Fans are passionate about the sport as well as about their teams, you've got to give them enough info and make it easy for them to buy tickets for the game to grow in the UK.

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  5. Anonymous - To be fair, our stadium game was only arranged in mid-April (we had to reschedule 2 fixtures with the league to accommodate it) so we only had less than 6 weeks to promote it. We sold the first ticket on May 1st and we played on June 1st.

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